Saturday, April 30, 2016


Scratched upon
The old temple wall,
Generic PC graffiti

On the turntable:  Aimee Mann, "Whatever"

Friday, April 29, 2016

Norway the Hard Way

Some forgotten notes from the recent Lapland trip.  Full piece published here..

Funny how the ride in to city from the airport is through a landscape familiar--suburbs, box stores, commercial warehouses.  That is, through a landscape familiar, one found in most countries.  It is only when you approach a city center that you find it begins to take on a distinct cultural character.

Walking the streets of Oslo on a sunny Saturday afternoon late month,  I was struck by the incredible number of prams being pushed around, and was made even more aware of their absence in infant-deficient Japan.  

The mystery of boats floating in ice-bound slips in Oslo.  How do they heat that water? 

Riding along the world's highest railway, half of the seats in each carriage facing backwards.  It was in one of these that I sat gazing out the window, musing on where I'd just been.

Comparing the aesthetics of Zen with Scando-minimalism. 
Musing in a cathedral, I think that it's nice to believe in a god, if that brings comfort.  For me, God is just another name for hope. And hope is more a human instinct than divine.

On the nighttable:  Fosco Mariani, "Meeting With Japan"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Springtime Fushimi canals,
Upon whose waters
Sake is born.

On the turntable:  Alexander Spence, "Oar"

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Narrow Road Signs VI

As my feet point north
My thoughts linger on those
Suffering far south.

On the turntable:  Alison Brown, "Stolen Moments"

Friday, April 22, 2016

Purple Majesty...

Serendipitous reference to Prince during a rainy Kanazawa lunch...

On the turntable:  (............................)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Papers: Alan Booth

“If you speak three words of Japanese you will be rapturously applauded for your linguistic mastery. It is only when you are approaching competence that you will be frowned upon as a threat to the national polity.”
On the turntable:  Art Blakey, "The Complete Blue Note Recordings"

Friday, April 15, 2016

Narrow Road Signs V

Cleaner waltzes across
The station floor
Brushing calligraphy with a mop.

On the turntable:   Alice Coltrane, A Monastic Trio"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


The twain have met,
Brought together by
The blustery wind.

On the turntable:  Afro Celt Sound System, "Vol. 3" 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Favorite Norseman

Reading/watching Thor Heyerdahl inspired the following: 

Those unsinkable men of Kon Tiki
With a premise considered quite cheeky.
Kept their inner eyes glued
On Rapa Nui's stone dudes,
While praying their craft wasn't leaky.

On the turntable:  Aerosmith, "Classics Live"

Monday, April 11, 2016


Nakasendo westward.
Trading my palanquin,
For 99 horses.

On the turntable:  Agent Orange, "Sonic Snake Session"

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Papers: Kurt Caswell

"The journey is not over until you have told its story."

On the turntable:  Adiemus:  "The Best of Adiemus"

Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Roads to Satire

"More thorough nonsense must be spoken and written about Japan than about any comparably developed nation."

--First line of Alan Booth's hilariously snarky 1992 guidebook to Japan.

On the turntable:  Ayub Ogada, "En Mana Kuoyo"

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


The clouds too
Close in on
The final temple.

On the turntable:  Arab Strap, "Monday at the Hug & Pint

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Sunday Papers: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"If our purpose is to understand mankind and its yearnings, to grasp the essential reality of mankind, we must never set one man's truth against another'sAll beliefs are demonstrably true. All men are demonstrably in the right. Anything can be demonstrated by logic[...] Truth is not that which is demonstrable but that which is ineluctable."

On the turntable:  A Flock of Seagulls, "A Flock of Seagulls"

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Kengo Kuma and the Erasure of Architecture

My architectural post on Kengo Kuma over at ZenVita: 

On the turntable:  AC/DC, " High Voltage"
On the nighttable: Dave Van Ronk, "The Mayor of MacDougal Street"


Friday, April 01, 2016


Not a bear in sight
Along the ridges of
Kuma Kogen.
Perhaps they hate rain.

On the turntable:  Ancient Grease, "Women and Children First"